Winning over customers is a multi-step process in a multi-channel world. Marketers sometimes refer to this process as the “sales funnel.”
The sales funnel can be separated into five stages. These stages are:
While these stages apply to almost every industry, the unique marketing techniques required to guide customers through these stages can differ. This guide looks at the sales funnel, including an AI website builder from an ecommerce perspective, explaining precisely each step and exploring the marketing strategies required to guide customers through each stage from initial exposure to a loyal customer.
The first step is making people aware of your store. This typically involves advertising your products and your website to familiarize people with your brand.
There are many different ways to advertise an ecommerce business, but the two most effective methods are social media advertising and display advertising. Both methods require paying for an advert to show online for a limited time. The best adverts typically have solid visuals and snappy text to grab people’s attention. Videos are most likely to grab people’s attention because of the movement and sound (although you shouldn’t rely on sound, as many internet users will have adverts muted). A video advertising company could help you to produce a captivating video ad.
Of course, it’s important to grab people’s attention and make your brand memorable. Many successful ecommerce companies have catchy one-word brand names (e.g., Amazon, ASOS, Gymshark, Etsy, Ticketmaster). A strong logo can also help people remember your brand and should be included in all your adverts.
Once you’ve made people aware of your brand, the next stage is to get them interested. This typically involves making people familiar with your brand and getting them to visit your site and view your products.
An excellent online advert will grab people’s attention and encourage clicks, which can then direct visitors to a landing page on your website. Promoting limited-time deals is one of the best ways to encourage clicks by creating a sense of urgency. However, sometimes a captivating image or interesting fact about your product can be enough to press a click.
Some customers skip the awareness stage and move directly to the interest stage. These customers are already searching for a specific product you sell at your store. The best way to attract these already interested customers is by investing in SEO (search engine optimization). This primarily involves using the right keywords on landing pages so that these pages display at the top of the rankings when people search for these terms on Google and Bing. Keyword research tools can help you determine exactly which keywords customers are searching for – and which keywords your competitors may or may not be using.
Keywords are just one component of SEO, and it is essential to consider other SEO tactics when designing your site. Because SEO can be complex and a lot of work, it is often worth using an SEO agency to provide ongoing SEO for your store.
You’ve interested customers enough to visit your site. The next stage involves encouraging these visitors to want to buy from your site.
How do you create the desire to want to buy from your store? First, please make sure that your website is well-designed. It must look professional, feel secure, load quickly, and navigate easily. I'm hiring the help of a reputable website developer to ensure that your website ticks all of these boxes. Even if you’re using a website builder like BigCommerce, Shopify, or Wix, hiring a pro can still be helpful to help fine-tune your site’s design.
Informative and persuasive content is also necessary to encourage people to buy from your site. Every product listing should include detailed product information to help build trust. Bullet points can quickly highlight critical features, while more in-depth knowledge is worth detailing beneath. You can hire freelance copywriting services to convey this information persuasively or write product descriptions yourself. Professionally taken product photos can show people exactly what a product looks like. For many products, it’s worth providing multiple or 3D images so a consumer can view a product from different angles.
Pricing must be competitive, which involves regularly researching competitor prices to adjust your pricing when necessary. Limited time can be a great way to increase the desire to buy your product – those who may have been merely interested in your product may feel more pressure to buy your product so that they don’t miss out on a great deal.
It’s possible to invest in the help of ecommerce CRO services to help convert visitors into eager customers. Such services may be able to identify critical missing web design features that could help move consumers down the sales funnel.
Even if a customer has decided they want to buy your product, obstacles may still prevent them from purchasing. You must eliminate these obstacles and make the purchase process as simple as possible to maximize sales.
You can start by adding a clear call-to-action button to each product listing. This button should add the product to a visitor’s shopping cart when clicked. Customers should then choose to proceed to the checkout or continue browsing. If they continue to browse, the shopping cart should be accessible at all times (usually displayed with a bag or trolley icon in the top right corner).
Many online stores encourage customers to create an account before making a purchase, making it easier to promote repeat purchases (more about this in the next section). Still, it would be best if you were wary that not everyone might have the time to create an account. Therefore, a guest checkout option is recommended to help people quickly checkout if they would prefer. One-page checkouts have become more common and can significantly help to reduce abandoned shopping carts.
Some consumers may also abandon their shopping cart if the payment or shipping options are too restrictive. To keep these customers at the final hurdle, make sure that you offer flexible payment and shipping options. About payment options, please just go ahead and pay by debit or credit card. Some online sellers are reluctant to accept credit cards because of the extra fees. Still, it is generally worth the additional customers gained – especially when selling oversized ticket items that customers are more likely to purchase with credit. Regarding shipping options, consider allowing customers to choose between a more expensive fast shipping option and a cheaper (or potentially free) slower shipping option.
Are you looking to sell to customers in other countries? It could be essential to accept other currencies if this is the case. You’ll also want to explore shipping options like drop-shipping so that you can more speedily ship products to customers in other countries.
For some ecommerce companies, winning over customers is the end stage of the funnel. However, you may sell products that customers want to purchase again or alternative products that a customer may wish to buy later. In these cases, it can be worth employing marketing tactics to convert initial customers and create loyal ones.
Encouraging customers to create an account and join a mailing list can help you to win over return business by allowing you to email promotions. These could be personalized product recommendations based on products that a customer has previously purchased.
You can also entice customers back with loyalty discounts. These discounts could be earned by collecting loyalty points, or you could email them to select customers to win them back. This guide offers more tips for setting up a loyalty program.